8 Tips For Attracting Donations For Your Silent Auction | Plus a Wedding Social Donation Letter Template
Asking for donations is a nerve-wracking task as it is. Asking for donations for your wedding social, and not a charity, can be downright terrifying. But it’s not impossible, and you certainly shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
If you’re feeling nervous, the worst that can happen is your prospects say “no”, but fear of rejection shouldn’t stop you from asking for prizes. Remember: A closed mouth doesn’t get fed, so you’re going to have to get out there and get hustling.
Here are a few tips for how to go about attracting donations.
Start With Businesses Where You Shop Regularly
Do you shop at certain stores regularly? Start there. Since they’re local, they’re already familiar with the concept of a wedding social. Pitch the idea of a potential donation to these business owners while promising promotion leading up to the event, a strategy we’ll discuss in more detail later.
Be mindful of how you phrase this request. You don’t want to put a business owner in the awkward position of thinking they have to say “yes” in order to maintain a positive relationship with you.
Look To Family and Friends
Your family and friends are your best resources for gift donations, so don’t be shy about tapping into this network. For starters, they may have their own businesses with goods they’re willing to hand over as social prize donations. This is a relatively painless way of building up your inventory.
Additionally, your family and friends have connections to business owners they can contact who may be willing to donate a prize. If they know an electronics store owner who’d be willing to donate speakers or a spa owner who can part with a gift certificate for a free massage plus mani/pedi, you can bulk up the social prize donations for your silent auction.
Promise The Business Name and Prize Will Be Promoted Leading Up To The Event
Some businesses will be hesitant to donate to your wedding social because they can’t see the mutual benefit. Let them know there’ll be a lot of promotion leading up to the event. This helps with their hyperlocal marketing and, if done correctly, generates more business than the cost of the donation.
To make this worthwhile, come prepared with a specific outline of how this kind of promotion can be beneficial for them. If you have lots of friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter or Instagram, prepare packages with a set number of creative posts you’ll put up about their business. The idea is to turn yourself into a mini-influencer on behalf of their company. Since you’ll be letting people know that they provided a social prize donation, the relationship is transparent and ethical.
Stick to Local Businesses
Your wedding social doesn’t provide a lot of advertising value for a large retailer, but it can definitely be helpful for a local business who can benefit from raising their profile in the neighbourhood. When you’re making a list of businesses to approach (especially with the promotion offer outlined earlier) stick to nearby businesses who can clearly benefit from being promoted to your friends and family.
Write a Persuasive Wedding Social Donation Letter
Write a wedding social donation letter to send to prospects. Start with a template and customize it based on how well you know the recipient. Your template can be something like the following:
Dear [Insert Name Here],
Our wedding social is coming up. It’ll be held at [Insert Venue Name] on [Insert Wedding Social Date], and we’re currently gathering wedding social prize donations for our silent auction. If you are in a position to donate anything from your business to our wedding social we would be exceptionally grateful for your support.
Of course, we would promote your business and social prize donation leading up to the event. If you’d like to chat more about a possible wedding social prize donation, please feel free to contact [Insert Name Here] at [Phone Number or Email]. We’d love to chat with you further, and we are happy to personally pick up any donations you’re willing to give.
Thank you for your support!
Consider Restaurants and Service Industries
Don’t just look for tangible products. Consider sending your wedding social donation letter to restaurants. They may be willing to donate a dinner-for-two gift certificate. This is especially useful for a local restaurants since people are always looking for a new place to dine out. A wedding social is just the sort of event where restaurants can find new clientele.
Look for Promotions at Venues You’ve Booked For Wedding Celebrations
A wedding involves lots of expenses. Consider sending your wedding social donation letter to the hotel you’ve booked for your reception or to the restaurant where you’re holding your rehearsal dinner. If you’re spending a lot of money for a venue or a vendor, check out whether they’re willing to throw in a gift certificate.
Ask If You Can Get a Discounted Price
If worse comes to worse, and you find yourself coming up short on donations, consider asking people for a partial donation. For instance, they provide a product for a discounted rate in exchange for the exposure that comes from promoting their contribution. The other method that involves pounding the pavement is to start looking for silent auction prizes well in advance for discount prices and then listing their retail price at the auction.
Soliciting social prize donations isn’t impossible, but it’ll require quite a bit of prep, persistence, and charm. And once you get them, don’t forget to send a thank you card!